The fantasy season is upon us. Another year of tears of joy and heartbreak.
To help you along, here’s your fantasy outlook for the Carolina Hurricanes:
2022-23 Fantasy Outlook: Carolina Hurricanes
Last season: 54-20-8, 1st Metro, 3rd overall. GF: 9th, GA: 1st, PP: 13th, PK: 1st
When will the Canes break through? After setting a new franchise record with 54 wins and 116 points and then capturing their second straight division title, the Canes crashed out of the playoffs early once again. They had made it the second round and pushed the series to seven games, which was an improvement after their previous season’s second-round showing lasted only five games, but the improvements were nominal and didn’t really mean much, especially since they were favored against the Rangers.
Best fantasy option: Sebastian Aho, C, and Andrei Svechnikov, LW
The Canes’ top two players hold down this spot once again, and no one else on the team comes close. Aho is already an established point-per-game player who has improved drastically in the faceoff dot, and Svechnikov has become a physical power winger with equal parts skill and strength. The one curious drawback mentioned last season is that the Canes don’t get a lot of power plays for a team that plays a quick, skilled game, and that could be the case again this year, too. They ranked only 20th in power play opportunities last season, and with their above-average power play could’ve added a few more points to pad their totals. Both players should be early-round picks in standard leagues.
Hidden gem: Brent Burns, D
Dougie Hamilton left for greener pastures and Tony DeAngelo was moved since he didn’t quite have the kind of impact on the power play the Canes had hoped for even though he had a good season individually. Burns will be their third right-handed defenseman in as many seasons as they try to improve their special teams, and he represents a big swing for the fences even with the Sharks retaining some salary. At his peak, Burns was a high-volume shooting machine from the blue line, and even in his worst seasons could still at least score at a 40-point pace. Despite being 37 years old, a change of scenery could do wonders for Burns’ offensive game, and even if that experiment goes awry, he’s an excellent source of blocked shots, finishing 16th among defensemen with 150. The other candidate? Sophomore Seth Jarvis, who had an excellent season playing a ton of minutes on the first line and is projected to score 51 points, according to THN’s Pool Guide.
The biggest saving grace (get it?) was that Frederik Andersen managed to stay healthy – at least for the regular season for fantasy purposes. He stayed relatively injury-free for 52 games, and when he needed a break, Antti Raanta was fantastic. It’s arguably the best tandem in the league, but they’ll also both be 33 years old when the season starts. The Canes’ puck possession game is so strong their goalies don’t see a lot of shots – they held their opponents to a league-low 28.2 SA/GP last season – which helps keep them fresh and limits a lot of scoring opportunities. Both goalies deserve to be rostered for fantasy purposes, though Raanta is clearly the insurance policy just in case anything happens to Andersen, the presumptive starter. It should be another easy 30-plus wins for Andersen, though note he ranked only 19th in saves, a testament to how little work he had to do relative to his peers.
They have one of the best motivators behind the bench in Rod Brind’Amour, and a few guys who might play like they have something to prove, such as Burns, Paul Stastny and even Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who needs to live up to his big contract. Losing Max Pacioretty to injury hurts, but he had yet to play for the Canes before his injury and they had essentially gotten him for free. The Canes need a deep playoff run before they can be considered viable contenders rather than just a really good team, and beyond Aho and Svechnikov offer up a lot of depth scorers for fantasy managers, including Teuvo Teravainen, Martin Necas and even the ultra-steady Jaccob Slavin.